#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
New Year, New Read

Why Don’t We Read For Pleasure Anymore?

Some of you might struggle to believe this, but this humble writer once thought himself the sort of man that would end up becoming an educator. I spent a decent number of months practicing and learning to be a teacher at a Welsh language secondary school. This school maintained a high standard for its pupils and for its staff.  The students did seem to have one commonly shared problem however – Reading. 

Coming out of Covid so many children had been effected by the disruption to their education. I was staggered to see just how many children struggled to read. This wasn’t a fault of teachers, as every teacher I worked with was as eager to get children reading as my Labrador is to lick the floor of the kitchen for crumbs. Certainly Covid had its effect. I recall in one primary school I worked in a young boy gleefully stated that whenever there was a question he couldn’t answer he’d ask Alexa. 

A reliance on technology to deliver us information and entertainment is certainty an avenue to explore – if I’m out and about and I see a parent trying to entertain a child I’ll more than often see them playing on a phone than with a toy. Not a criticsm, I’m part of that generation – for me it was the PSP. Still, I remember growing up I was read to a lot, and then go on to read a lot – having an adventure inside your head entirely envisioned by myself. 

It seems in education now, children are being taught to read primarily as a skill and not for the enjoyment of the written word. It has been cut down to an analysis of vital elements needed to create the most optimally intelligent human being. Take this quote from Daniel Willingham for example; 

‘Reading exposes children to more facts and to a broader vocabulary than virtually any other activity, and persuasive data indicate that people who read for pleasure enjoy cognitive benefits throughout their lifetime.’

2021, Why Don’t Students Like School?, pg. 52

In the very next sentence he states that pleasure reading should play second to educational aspects. I do not think that we should be forgetting about the importance of reading for educational purposes. Yet if this were truly the prime model, would findings like the ones published by Estyn – re-published by WalesOnline – exist? Reports that a large portion of children in secondary schools in Wales ‘don’t develop their reading skills well enough’. It’s not just Wales either, this article also notes that reading standards have dropped all across the UK. 

The chief inspector of Estyn, Owen Evans, has stated the importance of improving reading skills is a “top priority to him’. It's all well and good talking about improving reading skills, but why must that solely be for the purpose of the child’s education? Pleasure reading has been shown to have an important impact on a persons mental health. Not to mention that reading is a great way to spend ones free time. 

Reading should be encouraged because it is fun – and not enough people do.

And I want to do something about it.

So here it is. 

There are 52 weeks in a year. If the average number of pages per-book is between 250-350 and assume the average reading speed for a slow reading, 125 words per minute, is applied then it is entirely possible to finish one book per week. 

This may seem like a lot, I assure you it’s possible. And I’ll prove it 

I am going to for the next twenty-eight weeks be reading one Jack Reacher book a week and posting my review. I have already finished the first and moving on to the second this week, the second week of 2024. 

If you’re behind that’s ok – sort yourself a plan this week and start next week. 50 books in a year is still amazing. And I don’t want you to just read them; engage with them, talk about them if you loved them or hated them comment and let me know. Talk about your reading journey. Let’s do this together. 

So hold you book marks, find page 1…ready….steady…………….GO.



Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in